Friday, February 14, 2020

Anxiety, Arthritis and Acupuncture
By Patricia White

Each New Year brings a new start or so we tell ourselves. A new year is no different from each new day. Humans, especially this one, always believe tomorrow will be bigger and better. It’s like erasing the big classroom blackboard once a year, once a week or once a day. The chalk dust is still in the air, but will soon settle somewhere, just as the things we try to erase from our lives and bodies. This dust just takes a little longer to settle out.

I had a snake-bit kind of year in 2019 in two big A words…. Arthritis and Anxiety. I started new meds a half  dozen times for each, stopped each a half  dozen times and cried two dozen times more because I just wasn’t getting the results I wanted, or the side effects were worse than the ailments, or it was too hot, too cold, too hard or just wasn’t in God’s time.

With all the new wild-child treatments on the horizon, it was time for me to step out there and test the waters. I have heard so much about CBD oil and that the folks who were taking it were all but walking on water after anointing their tongue with the oil of the sacred leaf. It took two stores before I found a lady who was knowledgeable enough to tell me exactly how many drops of which sacred oil I needed to achieve a state somewhere between ecstasy and relief. I didn’t want to feel like I was floating or give off an aura that something was funky with my soul. I just wanted relief, no side effects, nor to feel out of the ordinary, just good!

I took my little green bottle of CBD oil home and started using the drops immediately. Nothing happened. Damn. There’s always tomorrow. Next day, I went for my thirty-two-year cancer-free checkup. I was thinking about telling the Doc I had started taking CBD oil. I was worried she would not approve. When the nurse took my blood pressure and it was in the stroke zone, I knew I HAD to tell her. My mind was already racing to the moon that the one dose of drops was going to kill me via stroke. This is part of my problem. I worry too much about things that are never going to happen. The Doctor was thrilled that I was taking CBD. She praised it and said they had many patients achieving great results from Abraham to Zachariah. Wow, did I feel better. The Doctor also strongly suggested Acupuncture and gave me a brochure about a clinic they referred patients to and trusted.  I was on a roll! Did you notice, another A word?  Acupuncture.

I thought about the Acupuncture thing for a few days as I continued my CBD oil treatment. On day six, I woke up with no anxiety and my knees were an itsy bit better. I called for an Acupuncture appointment. An appointment was available the next day and I was ready. The sweetest Chinese lady, Ling,  greeted me and welcomed me to the world of ancient Chinese medicine. Without a fear in my fluffy old body, I crawled up on that table and welcomed an array of thin needles.  Ling placed one needle in the “happy spot” in the center of my forehead, two in my ear lobe, several in my low back, leg and my foot. About 20 in all. No pain. She then attached electrodes and turned on the juice, one needle at a time. When I felt a little sizzle, I let her know. It was all good, until she turned out the light and said she’d be stepping out for about 15 min. OK, then I got scared. What if my warm-up pants come sliding back up over my butt if I coughed or sneezed and all the needles come flying out, shocking me senseless? Here comes the anxiety again, then the tears. I am a hot mess and a weeping wuss. Not a freaking thing was hurting but I didn’t want to be left alone. She asked if I’d like to listen to some classical music. Yes, please. She asked if I’d like her to get my hubby from the waiting room. Yes, please. Moments later, my Phil came in, touched my head with the special energy he brings to me and I relaxed, trying not to look at my watch too often. Close to 15 minutes of being hooked up, I was ready for that needle in the happy spot in the middle of my forehead to come out. It wasn’t making me happy. It wasn’t hurting me, but I knew it was there. I could see it, even in the dimly lit room. I asked my hubs to take a picture so I could always remember this moment. 

The door opened. In walked the Ling. She asked how I was feeling. Good, thanks. She removed the needles as quickly as she put them in, and I was done. See you next week.  I felt so proud of myself. We are barely into February and I have tried two new things, and both have been painless, effortless and I think I am finally on the right path. I can do this. No more drugs!!! 

Soon as I righted myself on the table and Ling left the room, I sent a picture of myself with the needle in my forehead to my daughter. My phone rang almost immediately. “What happened, what hospital are you in?” I told her I was on the Acupuncture table; couldn’t she see the needle?  She said all she could see was me laying on a table and forgot I was going for this new treatment. Apples don’t fall far from the tree. We’re stopping on the way home to get her some CBD oil.  

Saturday, October 20, 2018

On the Road Again
By Patricia White

With so many crazy things happening the last couple of months, trying to get my writing thoughts in order has been shoved to the back burner, once again. We really live a very simple life it seems, but many days are like a three-ring circus. How do old people get caught up in chaos when days mostly consist of doctor appointments, grocery shopping, home repairs, hair-cuts, arthritis and tending to a cat? I deal with the problems that I personally own but for the rest I chant, not my circus, not my monkeys!  Damn monkeys are multiplying. Speaking of monkeys, I’m reading a book called, Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind. I’ll leave that there for now.

We recently traveled to Baton Rouge for the annual SAE/LSU Chapter reunion.  Initially, we planned to take Cakes, our cat, as the hotel is pet friendly, but she told me in cat speak that she’d rather stay here if one of our girls was willing to stay here with her at night. One of our Aggies gladly agreed and so it was. Packing, which took me three days including shopping, was dicey with 95-degree temps in Houston, heading into a 50-60-degree weekend in Big BR.  I had to be prepared for all wardrobe eventualities, including maybe changing my mind from being in the mood to wear something fashion forward to age appropriate.  We haven’t taken a trip anywhere in over a year and my usually organized packing skills were lacking. I thought I covered myself for all scheduled events and any unexpected wardrobe malfunctions. Not to worry, there is a Chico’s in every city.

We enjoyed a great dinner the first night with the gang at Ruth’s Chris. My steak was still bellowing when I cut into it, but the waiter graciously took it back for another pass over the hot coals. Their wait staff was impeccable. Back at the hotel, we settled into our room to rest. We had been blessed with travel mercies, albeit it had been a long day. Thank goodness we brought our own pillows because all six on the bed were little balls of lumpiness. We both use CPAP machines and the outlets on the lamps were working half time and the wall outlets not accessible. Old people carry extension cords, of all things, so we hooked up in the bathroom with two 25’ cords. We would at least breathe through the night. The TV would not respond to anything we input with the remote. The not-so-central air-conditioning was loud and blowing humid air into the room. I woke up at 2am and the AC had stopped all together. My CPAP seemed to be sucking out my air instead of blowing it in. There was no ceiling fan, which I am addicted to. I sat up and for no good reason woke my hubby. He asked if I was OK and I said, NO. I began to weep. No time for a panic attack. He was too out of it to deal with anything electrical, much less me. If the bed wasn't on fire or I wasn't bleeding, he was going back to sleep. I laid back down and prayed, “Now I lay me down to sleep………,” and it worked. The air came back on at some point and my CPAP began to blow again. God is Good.

We woke up too late the next morning to catch the free breakfast buffet in the Lobby, unless I wanted to go in my robe looking like I was in hard labor. Mr. Leblanc shuffled to the lobby to snag us a bite of anything that might be left. Breakfast had been picked up and taken back to the kitchen. He talked some sweet little thing into rustling up a couple of day-old rolls and we made the best of it with the taste of Columbian coffee from the room coffee maker……and fake cream. After two cups of half-caf, I picked up the phone to call maintenance, but our phone did not work either. From my cell phone I put in a call to the front desk. Handy Dan arrived in five short minutes and he worked my list, including dismantling and resetting the compressor on the AC.  No hill for a stepper.

Next on our personal agenda was meeting my sisters for lunch.  When I began to remove the rest of my clothes from the hanging bags to get ready, I realized I hadn’t brought any extra tops for day time activities.  I recycled my travel shirt from the day before by hanging it in the hot shower area for few minutes to steam out wrinkles. Good ole Rimmel eye-make up remover took away the travel-day coffee stains plus a bit of ketchup. I would rock lunch in day-old clothes, hopefully unnoticed.  The Gumbo was wonderful, and the sister time was the best. We just don’t get to see each other often enough. It had been two years since I had seen my youngest sister. My middle sister came to Houston in March to play in a tennis tournament and spend time with me as I recovered from total knee replacement. I looked around the table and thought, we are no longer the giggly girls who shopped 'till we dropped but three old broads comparing chin hairs and wrinkles and enjoying each other’s company. We squeezed every drop we could out of our short visit.

After lunch, we girls headed to Chico’s so that I could fill in some of the missing pieces in my travel wardrobe. As I ran around the store in an adrenaline rush, I crashed into a beautifully dressed mannequin. I tried to catch her as she toppled but she was bigger than me.  She hit the floor with her arms flying in one direction and her legs in another. Oh my. The salesgirl helping me was young and began laughing like a hyena. I joined her. Between snorts, I grabbed for my phone, so I could snap a picture, proof of what most would not believe.  I was already on Chico’s person of interest list for returning $300 worth of stuff I purchased in Houston (and had already worn the night before) for a price adjustment at the Baton Rouge store. (I got a text from Chico’s that morning that EVERYTHING was 40% off.)  I caused them a lot of grief, for which I apologized and thanked them profusely. Their last words were, no worries, now go buy something, not go break somethingNo worries, I made up for their losses. A win-win in my books.

Friday night at the Country Club was uneventful, except for my shoe falling into the commode when I flushed with my foot.  I fished the shoe out with the rat tail comb in my purse and ran it under hot water and patted it dry with one of their fancy cloth towels. I straightened my tiara,  and re-joined the soiree'.  Everyone was raving that the food was excellent. I only nibbled on a couple of finger sandwiches as my tummy was feeling a little wacko after the shoe thing. But the wine was excellent and conversation unparalleled. Everyone had a tall tale to share. Nothing like an SAE Sista. The Ya Yas and then some. One big happy family who by 9 p.m. had all been over-served. 

All the Brothers and Sisters who weren't going to the LSU game, regrouped on Saturday afternoon for a watch party in the hotel bar. We ordered our first glasses of wine and bartender announced that she had only a half- bottle of Cab for the entire afternoon and NO Pino Grigio. How could a bar be out of provisions before the game started knowing there were 40 people waiting to be served? A few of the Brothers were not happy. Not my circus, not my monkeys, right? We had enough wine in our room to stock the bar but bringing it into the bar was not an option. We, personally pouted for a few minutes, then switched to Scotch and Chardonnay.  We are used to getting our way, but the day had been full of surprises. Go with the flow, that's how we roll. LSU beat the hell out of Georgia, everyone managed to find something to drink and no one got slugged or sloshed.  A good time by any account. We were back in our room to watch the Astros kick some Boston booty by 7 p.m., eating chicken salad on crackers from Calvin’s Market.

Sunday morning came too quickly, and it was time to pack up and head out. We met old friends for brunch, reminisced and laughed then girded our loins and jumped onto I10  West with thousands of jubilant LSU fans headed home. Traffic was real. I have total faith in WAZE (the phone app) and she told us to detour in Orange from I10W to some country back road to avoid a total Big-Rig jam. We did, and emerged back onto I10W, 20 miles father West and way ahead of the crowd. First down and 90 miles to go.  We were in the home stretch. The goal was in sight.  Geaux Tigers!

Cakes was waiting at the door when we got home, only to quickly turn her back on us when we walked in. Her beloved staff had been gone all weekend and she was ripped. We threw the bags in the house, reconnoitered, grabbed a stemmed glass filled with an adult beverage and settled in to watch the Astros, round two with Boston. The game ended differently, which turned out to be the beginning of the end.  But we were home again, home again and ain't no place like home. Cakes was snuggling us again in an hour.  Life in Texas is good! See you next year, special friends. A good time was had by all.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

“Don’t Pee Down My Back and Tell Me It’s Raining”

By Patricia White
I have heard most of these sayings ‘dang near’ all my life. I’ve tried to explain the context in which they may have been used and my take on them. The names have been changed to protect the innocent but some of the words could not be changed, lest they lose authenticity. If you are offended, remember words are just words…
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Mama said.

Bird Nest on the Ground- Finding a treasure in an unexpected place, like $100 on the Casino floor or full roll of toilet paper out in the woods.  

Cold as a Witches Tit in a snow bound – Think Madonna in her pointed metal bra, skiing in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Pretty dang cold.

You’re Cruising for a bruising – Don’t mess with me or I’ll give you a knuckle sandwich.

Split your britches - You have really screwed things up. Jesus take the wheel.

Gickempucky- Any kind of stuff one mixed up with unknown ingredients. Like stuff grandma concocted and grandpa rubbed on his athlete’s feet.   

She thought she killed a fat hog – Bought Kraft Dinner at dollar store, five for a dollar, and they threw an extra in for free.

That chaps my butt  Someone really pisses you off. Like a case of the royal red ass. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste doesn’t help much in this situation. Remember though, being pissed off is better than being pissed on.

Make Hay while the sun shines-  Earn money when opportunity presents. Like, selling sliced, homemade pound cake by the coffee pot after church on Sunday. It also means, work you’re a$$ off when the getting is good because tomorrow is never promised.

Whitie’s out of jail – If someone yelled this at you back in the day, it meant your slip was showing; with today’s short skirts it might mean your panties. Just saying. And who wears slips?  

Not enough cloth to pad a crutch – Description of above mentioned skirt.

Step-ins – What my mama called our panties. Step into your step-ins.

“Shotgun” – When a bunch of us were heading out of the house to the car, whoever yelled “Shotgun,” had dibs on the front passenger seat by the window and control of the radio.

Up Shit Creek without a paddle- There’s no getting out of this mess. You in deep doo doo. Start praying. 

Narrow-minded – When I was a teenager, I could not go out with a boy who was non-Catholic (specifically Baptist) or from the North side of the tracks. My Daddy was narrow- minded.

Fat lot of good that did – Had nothing to do with fat or good. When your mama sent you to the store for sausage and you came home with a can of Vienna sausage, fat lot of good that did when she was making Gumbo.

Nervous as a whore in church- Well now, this shouldn’t take too much ‘splaining, especially when she saw the Priest with the torch, lighting the candles, chanting, Sinners come home.

Hissy Fit- This is more of a Southern term for when one gets her panties in a big wad and runs around crying, swearing, demanding and throwing things. Somebody better fetch her a Valium or a glass of wine, pdq. 

Running around Like a chicken with its head cut off- That would be me an hour before company is arriving. If you’ve never been to a farm-yard chicken slaughter, then you don’t know that after a chicken’s neck has been wrung, (sorry) and its head is gone, (sorry again) it keeps running around in circles. FOREVA!

Doesn’t have Pot to piss in or window to throw it out of- Now, this poor soul is really broke. All I can say is, God Bless him.

I swan – What my grandma used to say when she found something hard to believe. I think it was short for I Swanny…. or ladylike for I swear!

Couldn’t find his a$$ with both hands – An obviously stupid person who is beyond help. You can’t fix stupid.

Grinning like a possum eating sour grapes - Possums usually live on bugs, worms, berries and the like. Eating sour grapes would bring on a smile where their lips curl back and you can see teeth. People who grin like this are usually guilty of something.

Don’t pee down my back and tell me it’s raining – Don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes. I know what rain smells like. 

If her lips are moving she’s lying – Need I say more? You know who you are.

Snatch her bald – What I will do if a woman tries to steal my husband. 

Better give your heart to Jesus ‘cause your butt is mine – You have pissed me off one time too many. Taking no prisoners. Run like hell.

$hitting in high cotton – How the Nuevo riche’ act until the money is gone...or the boll weevils eat all the cotton.

Thinks the Sun shines out of his behind –Over-inflated ego. (you’re thinking of someone, right?)

It came a turd floater – Rain came down so hard, it flooded the yard and the dog poop came floating up.

Like a cow pissing on a flat rock -When rain hits the sidewalk so hard, it makes a big splash.  

Don’t make me go to lying- What you said when asked about something you were not supposed to tell or when asked something you knew the asker really didn’t want to hear the answer to. 

Birds of a Feather Flock together – If you love Jesus but drinks a bit, you will seek out like- souls. If you’re still here reading this and can relate to some of these slightly irreverent definitions........I guess we’re Birds of a Feather. 
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Hope this clears up some matters for you and gives you pause for a chuckle.

Be Blessed!!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Spring Has Sprung……Things Have Changed
By Patricia White

The Easter season is almost over and I’m just not quite ready for Summertime and all that comes with it.   I’d rather bask in the memories of Easters past and the things from my childhood that have stuck in my memory and in my heart. When I was a little girl, during Easter week, my sweet daddy would load my two sisters and me into our army jeep (our only mode of transportation) and drive us just a few blocks to a nearby lake, where he would point out over the still water to the big white shiny orb, free-floating, in the silky blue sky over the State Capital Lake in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was magical. Daddy called it the Big Ole Easter Moon, and said it would be there every Easter, and it always has been. My grands and greats are not so enamored with it when I tell them the story, but the sweet nostalgia and tradition are mine, not theirs. Things have changed.

We always had new Easter dresses and shoes, no matter how much money there was. My mama could take fifty cents worth of material and copy and make any dress she saw in the display window of Tots and Teens on Third Street. The five of us always showed up at St. Agnes Catholic Church on Easter Sunday, marching in with McDonald pride. Things have changed.

On Easter morning, our baskets were filled with dyed eggs in every vibrant color in the rainbow. Sprinkled in the green store-bought grass were jelly beans, malt-ball eggs and maybe a Goldbrick egg or Heavenly Hash egg or two. Sometimes, we got those large sugar eggs with a peep hole in the end where you could look inside the egg and see an Easter scene.  As we got older, there was always a specially-wrapped gift beside our basket that contained a pretty pair of silky summer jammies or some other treat my Mama knew we’d love. I thought we were the luckiest girls on earth. I was the oldest of The Three musketeers. I’m not sure I always deserved or wanted the pressure of being the oldest, but I was the self- proclaimed chairman-of-the-board for as long as they allowed me to be. Too many bossy personas. Things have changed.

Easter usually entailed an outing with my parents, a group of friends and their kids. When we moved to a house with five acres in the country, our home became the gathering place. But in the 50s, we were the lucky family with acreage on the Old Hammond Highway and an outdoor brick barbecue pit. We thought we were rich. Wish I had a picture of that relic. It was roughly constructed of white bricks and mortar with a tall chimney. The grill was huge and could hold at least ten chickens and fifty hot dogs. Friends came out from town to spend the day bringing every kind of food and dessert, not to mention adult beverages. We had a basketball goal, croquet set, badminton gear, a pond with a homemade raft and a 45-record player. Those gatherings were so much fun. We played games and danced all day. Things have changed.

One memorable Easter Sunday, as we were driving to church after a hard rain, the roads were muddy in places. As daddy neared our church, he hit a puddle and splashed muddy water all over three little girls walking along the road in their Easter finery. We were horrified, and Daddy was so ashamed but couldn’t bring himself to stop. Mama was speechless, but I’m sure she and Daddy had a come to Jesus meeting when we got home. I prayed to God in church and told Him that he didn't mean it. Daddy never forgot that day and reminded us of what he’d done every Easter Sunday for as long as I can remember. I still think of that awful sight every year on Easter and wish there were some way I could pay it back to those children. If you were one of them, I’m sure you will let me know. 

Shortly after Easter, we started thinking about the end of school and summertime and all the fun we anticipated. Many years the summer included a trip to Grand Isle for a week. We swam, crabbed and played on the beach all day. When the sun set, we dolled-up  to go with our parents to the island juke joint, Tony’s Rendezvous, where we danced with the local boys and girls, and where we learned to Shimmy.  Hubba Hubba. The nuns would not have approved, but they weren’t there. The adults sat at another table and enjoyed their adult beverages and gaggled on. They kept (maybe) one eye on us, but we were to be seen and not heard on those occasions unless someone was bleeding or unconscious. 

During the years that we stayed home all summer, the days and nights were filled with adventure as we roamed the State Capitol grounds by day, riding the elevator to the 34th floor (the observation deck) and taking the stairs back down, stopping to sneak into the empty Senate chamber, then as a finale, walking around the ledge that circled the huge State Capitol building (about three stories from the ground). It was more fun than a roller coaster with many Hail Mary  moments. Hours were spent devising a plan with needed tools to get into the old Fort that sat behind a mysterious ivy-covered brick wall. Our only summer rule was, Be home for suppertime. After checking in and eating, we were back out into the neighborhood until dark-thirty, after at least ten games of hide ‘n seek. With no air conditioning, we took a cold bath to cool down enough to go to bed. Dressed in our Easter jammies, we crawled up on the bed in the room we three girls shared, to listen to Baby Snooks, The Great Gildersleeve or The Shadow Knows. Daddy switched on the big fan he’d built into a frame for the window. That fan magically drew the cool night air from the window across the room as we listened to the radio or talked about the next talent show we would produce in the back yard. If we were lucky, every now and then we got a bowl of ice cream before we settled down to sweet dreams. No cell phones, color TVs, or video games. Can anyone say imagination? Things have changed.

Daddy was a do-it-yourself man. He told us, If Daddy can’t do it, nobody can. Once, we asked him to make us some stilts and the next day, he came home from work with lengths of wood and nails and by nightfall we had three pair of stilts, made to order. He smoothed the wood, so we never had to worry about splinters. We spent days learning to walk on those stilts, then dance or cut didos. He taught us to make walkie-talkies out of tin cans, buttons and string. What happened?  Nobody makes anything anymore. Along came Amazon. Things have changed.

I remember once when we were on an outing with other families Bar-B-Q-ing and hanging out in the woods. I needed to go to the bathroom. Daddy walked with me until he found a fallen tree with a forked branch for me to perch on. That’s the way he was. He always found a solution for everything. He was a can-do person. He set the bar high, and when I became a parent, I always tried to be the mama who made things happen too. Only the Shadow Knows for sure. 

When I was a growing up, happiness was a pair of skates, a table radio, jacks, a bolo paddle, a book of paper dolls, a pair of stilts and Grand Isle. For my kids it was bikes, forts, fishing, tent camping, s’mores and Florida. Things haven’t changed much for me.  Give me a book, a skein of yarn and a crochet needle,  a Motor home and Laptop on the lake’s edge and I’m happy. 

For kids today summertime means………. the battery on my I-pad is dead, I don’t have anything to do. I can’t even relate.  It’s going to be summer before long and a long summer for some Mamas. Somewhere on that long road, things have changed!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Fifty Shades of Green
By Patricia White

     My mission for today was to shop for yarn for the beautiful crocheted afghan I promised to make for my youngest daughter. I know it’s hot as hail to be wrestling with a mass of yarn in my lap, but I promised.  Choosing yarn colors is rough when you are color blind. I must depend on someone else’s eyes to determine true color. In my present cataract condition, purple looks like brown, pink looks like yellow and what I think is seafoam may really be sea weed.

     Hobby Lobby has the largest selection of yarn at reasonable prices. I’ve been to some fancy shops where a skein of yarn had about enough to whip up a potholder, at $12 a skein. Do the math. Thirty-six of those tiny skeins would cost $432. I’m sticking with Hobby Lobby. So, once there, I encountered color names like, asparagus, butter bean, kale, roasted celery and cabbage. Sounds like a soup menu. Whose idea was it to re-name basic colors these she-she-names? At my wits end, I quit reading color names and tried to rely on what’s left of the color-discerning part of my eyes. After stalking each aisle repeatedly, feeling, smelling and comparing, I selected a beautiful green color and thought it was spot-on. There were no employees in site to get help from on my color choice, so I went with my gut. I tried to get color affirmation from the hippie-looking lady at the check-out, but she was too preoccupied with the nail she’d just broken. No help there. When my yarn was checked out I hurried to the car, where Mr. Leblanc (aka my hubs) patiently waited for me, working on a Sudoku puzzle. I excitedly pulled the yarn from the bag and before I could say a word, he asked why I had gotten blue when I wanted green. Blue?  One quick glance in true sunlight told me it really was blue. No one knows how much thought and aggravation really go into one of these side projects of mine. Gosh Doggit, my purchase had to be returned. I hoped the lady in the moccasins and pigtails, who was no help at all, would be at lunch when I returned. Color-tricked once again. It was now close to noon and I needed a bowl of gumbo and   generous pour of Pinot Gris. My man is so patient. He said it was no problem and we could return the blue yarn after lunch.

     As previously planned, we joined friends for a mid-day repast of some fine Cajun fare and bull session to catch up on everyone’s mental state, gallbladders, $1200 crowns, knees, veins and hammer toes. One of my BFFs mentioned she was dreading an upcoming procedure. That nasty rear end, “let’s take a peak way up in there,” and starts with the letter “C.” I did not want to go there as I dipped my wonderful French bread into my gumbo. I had one of those roto rooters once. The Doctor told me that he would give me meds before the procedure to induce amnesia about the whole incident once it was over. Well, Sister, half way through I got my memory back. Yes, I did, and I screamed. I later heard that my scream cleared the waiting room.  I was very sorry to have frightened anyone, but the doctor should have kept his promise. I did not tell my BFF about waking up during my look-see. I suggested an emergency subject change and we finished lunch and chatted about some old geezer-band playing locally and the possibility of catching one of their gigs coming up that weekend. After our meal, we enjoyed authentic Cajun bread pudding with rum sauce for desert and the chatter wound down.

     We hugged and kissed goodbye and promised to see each other again before they loaded us all up on that senior bus we keep reading about on Facebook. That’s where we get most of our hard news. I knew before the year was over, we’d either be on the bus or under it the way things were going for Seniors and Medicare and those of a certain political persuasion. Just saying.

     Back at the Hobby Lobby, I began, once again, to peruse the shelves for the shade that was stuck in my craw – sea foam green, like the color of the foamy waves that break in shallow water in Destin, Florida. I re-dug through every yarn brand, the clearance bin and even got on the red phone and asked if they might have any yarn hiding in the backroom. No luck from the lame duck on the other end of the phone.  My eyes were blurry and watering from the dye after looking up close at fifty shades of green. Totally frustrated, I carried two different skeins of yarn to the returns counter, where Pocahontas was now working. Again, I asked her opinion. She proceeded to educates me about blue and green pigmentation and dye processes. Who the eff cares? I was buzzing from the Pinot and not in the mood for Textiles 101. All I wanted to know was which yarn looked most like Sea Foam Green to her. She said, neither. So, I opted for the one that looked blue. I ran back to aisle 26 and grabbed eight more skeins.

I made my exchange and bolted. Last time I picked the green one and it was a true blue in the sunlight. Therefore, blue would surely look green with the yellow of the sun mixed in. Blue and yellow still make green, right? My Pinot brain is making perfect sense. Since it was now overcast in the parking lot, I was guessing it would look just right. When I got back to the car, I pulled out a skein and handed it to Mr. Leblanc. He said good job on finding Sea Foam Green. I asked if he was sure. He handed the yarn back to me and pointed to the label. Sea Foam Green.  Well, I’ll just be switched. How did I miss that? I got this color thing. We were backing up to leave as I caught sight of Pocahontas running out of the store towards us. She had my cell phone in her hand. I rolled the window down and reached out for it thanking her with all my southern Pinot charm. That’s when I noticed her eyes were two different colors. One was light brown and the other sea foam green. Or was it Blue........

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Knee Replacement.....The Struggle is Real
By Patricia White

I knew about six years ago that my knees were going south on me, faster than new meds were being developed to treat them. A total knee replacement was not an option for me at that time as far as I was concerned. For several years I had regular steroid injections as well as Synvisc injections. I would ask my Doc each visit if he thought my really bad knee was ready for the next step. He always shook his head and said, "not just yet." I'd ask if it was really a big deal. He always said, "Yes, it's a big deal." At least he was honest.

We were just coming off a good year of being back on the tennis courts, Zydeco dancing every Friday night at Swampy's, our favorite watering hole/restaurant, water aerobics, gym workouts and even a little Pickle Ball at the Y with the old gummers. I think the Pickle Ball was what did me in. The final curtain came down on my knees. 

After two scopes and a micro-fracture, there was still not much improvement in my worst knee. I became sedentary way ahead of my time.  I worked with a trainer twice a week for a year. My goals were to keep my knees moving and to avoid replacement at all cost. The extra exercise was giving me back, hip and ankle problems so I quit everything. After a year of hobbling around with a cane, being dropped off at the door of every place we went, I just kind of quit doing most things. I became an arm-chair shopper and saved all my energy for cooking and doing simple things around the house. I felt like life was passing me by. It was decision time.

I went back to my ortho only to learn that he was no longer doing knees.  But, he said that his associate was a highly trained and skilled surgeon, recruited from California, and was doing the latest and greatest new MAKOPLASTY, robotic assisted surgery. That info gave me a real sense of assurance somewhere between, OK, let's do this and run like hell!!! With much urging from all my peeps, I scheduled an appointment and went for a consultation. In a fog of information and anxiety, I heard someone setting up a surgery date and suddenly realized it was me. I was on auto-pilot. Surgery was set for one month out and it would take that long to complete all the assigned tasks, x-rays, meetings, etc. Well, one month was way too long to have to think about the things I knew they would do to me. And if I heard correctly from well-meaning friends, with tools from the woodshed. Besides all those crazy thoughts, a new problem developed. My ankle on my good leg gave out completely, necessitating a steroid injection which moved surgery out another month. I prayed daily for a sign from God whether I should do this thing. The ankle issue looked like a sign to me, but I waited a bit longer for a bigger bonk on the head. Then, one morning, my gut just told me I should not and could not go through with surgery and I cancelled. Yep, all the tests, meetings, etc. Erased from my calendar and my mind.  We southern girls know we must go with our gut feelings. I breathed a sigh of relief. No more worries about surgery. But the problem was still there, big-time. I'd figure something out after the holidays.

Thanksgiving was tough as I always prepared a large portion of the meal, but Christmas put my behind in a sling. We had 35 for Christmas Eve and nothing was too good for my family.  I slaved for days making the house and preparations perfect, all with the help of my precious husband. A lot of meltdowns, hugs, Tylenol, icing of my knee, etc. My family could see the strain and after Christmas, told me I just had to get my knee fixed.

January 2, 2018,  I called and rescheduled surgery for February 6.  I was scared again. Shitless. There were dietary changes to make which demanded an increase in protein, old meds to be stopped and new ones started, three-times-a day exercises, x-rays, scans, labs....OMG, meetings and my regular life still needed to go on.

Surgery day arrived and so did we at 5:30 am, ready for this piece of cake everyone touted. Surgery took about 45 minutes and I suppose all went well. With the nerve block in my leg, I was up and walking four hours later. I thought, wow, this is going to be easy. Only because I begged and had a meltdown at my final Dr. visit before surgery, I was able to stay the night in the hospital. New Medicare guidelines now deem knee replacement for Seniors, Day Surgery! You heard me.  I made it through the first night post-op, then it was time to head home.

One thing we failed to plan out was how I would get up into the truck for the trip home. I was so high on drugs and residuals from surgery, I have no idea how I got up on that seat. I think they may have used a back hoe. When we arrived home, I just kind of slid out of the truck onto a thick cushion on the garage floor and trudged inside collapsing on the first soft surface I came to.

Shortly thereafter, I moved into the bed which became my pillow-lined nest for two weeks. The bathroom was 14 steps too many away.  I cried during every round trip. I was taking pain meds every four hours, day and night.  My hubby was cooking grits in the middle of the night for me as I had to have food on my tummy to tolerate the meds. Or, he was fetching pudding, milk, ice, cookies or something 24 hours a day. The struggle was real, for both of us.  I was unable to take anti-inflammatory meds because of previous heart issues and it was making recovery and healing slower than I could accept. I was not prepared in advance for the situation I found myself in. Are we ever? Poor pitiful me. I put on a good face but most saw through it.

The weeks dragged by with what I thought was more than my share of pain and nausea. I started some aggressive outpatient physical therapy about week three. My range of motion improved rapidly but the pain lingered. Everyone encouraged me to just take the pain meds. Don't let the pain get ahead of you, was their mantra. After six weeks of aggressive therapy, I began to fear that I would become addicted to the meds and against all recommendations, I started to taper off. The pain wasn't gone just the medicine and I was in meltdown mode most of the time. Each therapy session seemed to make matters worse. I prayed constantly for relief. I lived each day by faith, not by sight, as I saw no signs my knee was getting well. Jesus take the wheel!

With one physical therapy session left, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I called my cardiologist and insisted that I be allowed to take something to reduce the inflammation. My ortho wanted me off the pain meds and to go to pain management. Against my better judgment, I called to make the appointment and the nurse started talking long needles and injections on the phone . Game off. I called in my prayer warriors and I devised a plan to get better in a hurry. You don't really need to know my plan because it probably changed each day and it encompassed a lot of things, mostly God driven. I'm finally getting where I need to be. For me, it has taken almost three months after surgery. It's different for everyone. There is no norm, which I was looking for. The nights are still a little shaky because I'm unconsciously protecting my knee all night long, thus waking up a lot. But if I wake up and my knee is throbbing, I put a soft pillow on top of it and tell it to go back to sleep. Alas, I am so much better! No tears for several days or waking up with unexplained, free-floating anxiety. I think I've got this. I still have a few more months to go before I get my stamina back and to feel like I truly have a new knee. We signed up at the gym today and paid for a year in advance. I am committed.

The Struggle Has Been Real!!! My family has been the REALEST thing of all, present every step of the way with love, meals, encouragement or whatever we needed. No surprises there because that is how we roll, 365. My goal this morning was to make it through today as some days over the past few months it was to make it through the next hour. Baby steps from February to May and I took every one of then, not alone, but with God’s help.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What a Difference a Year Makes

By Patricia White

I used to feel as though the days flew by, then it was the weeks, and now it’s the YEARS!! Every time I turn around it is Christmas again. The day after Labor Day, I now see  Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas Decor go on sale at Hobby Lobby. As soon as the merchants warn us we have 119 days until Christmas, the year is almost over again. Run, run Rudolf ‘cause I’m reeling like a merry-go-round.

First on my agenda this year was Cataract Surgery that went very well. I’m going to tell you I was crazy-kind of scared, no matter how many people told me it was a piece of cake. I did my usual praying for days beforehand that all would go well with no complications. When the day of surgery arrived, being very anxious, I began to pray to Archangel Raphael, whose specialty is healing (i.e. fixing broken things). When I checked into the surgical center and got all gowned up, I was told my nurse, Raphael, would soon be in to take over my care. My heart skipped a beat when I realized my own personal archangel had come to be with me. I teared up. Need I say more? I had one eye done on Monday and one on Wednesday and came down with the flu on Friday of the same week.  Although my eye-surgery outcome was perfect, 20/20 vision gave me no consolation as I trotted like a goose back and forth to the bathroom …. a reaction to Tamiflu. I know, let’s get this New Year started, right??? 

Fast forward a few weeks, with a glimpse of spring and slightly warmer temps, we moved our motor home to our favorite spot on the lake for three months. Being only an hour from home, we had the luxury of motoring back and forth when the neighborhood natives got restless or the sandbox got too crowded. Or when we just yearned for the pleasure of drinking our morning coffee on the lake’s edge as the ducks swam by, nodding, “Good morning, Humans.”  We loved being out there, hanging out in our little gazebo, grilling, dancing in the moonlight and drowning worms, until Spring sprung and the heat drove us home. As we wound our way out of the park on our last day, we heard a loud crash. With a bedeviling feeling in my gut, I opened the door and I saw that we had wrapped our still-extended awning around a telephone pole. By means of a little help and a few bucks later, we secured the mangled awning to the side of the motor home and thanked God that was the worst thing that happened during our stay. The Glampets were on the road again….headed home. A good time was had by all who visited. Fo sure!

Between the heat, the rains and Hurricane Harvey, it was an eventful summer. If you didn’t have water in your house, you were blessed. We were blessed. Neighbors were helping neighbors with many paying it forward. We saw much sadness but a lot of gladness too.  We lost our precious kitty, Tiger, but as soon as the airlines were flying after the storm, we got another precious kitty, a two-year-old female, Doll-Face Persian from Troy, Missouri. Cakes is the happiest and sweetest kitty in the world. Dogs have masters, but cats have staff. Indeed! Cakes came from a household with four young children and many cats who kept her entertained. We try to run, roll on the floor and play with her, but the challenge is real. LOL. Albeit, this is her forever home and we love her to the Moon.

We endured football season, ignored Halloween, thoroughly enjoyed Thanksgiving and here it is Christmas time again. The purple and gold LSU tree is up, the Nativity is in place and years of decor is scattered around the house. Outside lights are blinking and Santa Baby is playing on a small but melodious speaker in the kitchen window. I can still remember Eartha Kitt singing that song, do you? CYO Center, circa 1953. We are prepared to host our beautiful family for Christmas and anxiously await the arrival of Baby Jesus.  

Like I said, what a difference a year makes. Family members were reunited, a new baby was born, two more on the way, new friends came into our lives and old friends crossed over. We are survivors, warriors, wild ones at heart. I’m getting a new knee in 2018. Wonder Woman goes Bionic! I hear that Zydeco Music playing, waiting for me. I shall dance again. Stay tuned…💕

Miss Cakes